Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Innkeepers

The Innkeepers harkens back to the classic ghost movies of yesteryear, such as Poltergeist, and modern marvels such as Insidious. Director Ti West has become of the best young independent horror directors in the industry, and this is another feather in his cap. The Innkeepers doesn't overly concern itself with over the top gore or jump scares, it is a slow-burning haunted house tale.This is a very different movie from all of the gore fests that have come out over the past decade, The Innkeepers concerns itself with the story and characters first rather than worry about the way the ghosts will look of the effects it will have in it. This is a style that is sorely lacking in Hollywood for the most part because it doesn't necessarily sell to the masses.

The Innkeepers tells the tale of Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), who work at The Pedlar's Inn  which is on it last weekend of being open. There was a woman, Madeline O'Malley, who hanged herself in the inn in the 1800's and many of the people in the inn have seen her ghost. Claire and Luke are very interested in "Ghost Hunting" and try and document all of the different events that go on in the inn. From little things such as a piano playing itself or even doors closing on their own there are little things that support the notion that there is a ghost in the inn. Claire starts to become overly paranoid after she starts to witness things that she attributes to the ghost of Madeline O'Malley.From that point forth it is a tale of trying to find the truth about what happened in the inn and how they can make it out of there alive.

This is exactly the type of horror movie that I loved as a kid. There is almost no gore to speak of and it uses all of these small scary events to set the mood and establish fear in the viewer. The two main characters in the movie, Claire and Luke, are also extremely likable because they seem like just normal people. They both seem like outsiders and are never at odds with each other and they both like each other. You can tell that they like each other on a deeper level but they never act on it. This is one of the better ghost stories that I have seen over the last few years and it is a step blow movie like Insidious or Poltergeist. The only thing it doesn't do that those other movies do is create an iconic or long lasting villain. It is also a tad slower than most movies which takes its toll on the effectiveness of the movie because it take such a long time to get to the meat of the movie.

This is a very good haunted house movie and is a great little independent movie. Sara Paxton also does a wonderful job of carrying the movie on her shoulders. She is extremely beautiful in every movie that she is in but they manage to make her look like a plain Jane and just like a normal person. Her chemistry with Healy is great in the movie and really carries the movie along. This is a very good ghost story and deserves to be seen by horror movie enthusiasts.

I am a huge fan of haunted house movies/stories and have really grown to appreciate the skill needed to make one successful. Anyone can take a group of people, throw them in a creepy setting, and add ghosts. It doesn't mean that the movie is going to be scary but that is why over-the-top gore is used heavily to compensate for shit stories in many cases. West has become a modern master in horror storytelling and you can see that first hand in this movie and in House of the Devil. He has made these movies scary by using setting, story, and having the ability to use these to fill every frame with a sense of dread. The bottom line is that if you are a fan of horror movies, you should be watching this movie right now. If you are not a fan of horror movies, you should still give this one a shot.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Walking Dead- "Live Bait”

Ah, the return of The Governor.  Only took about half the season, but it was a grand return.  The episode saw him kill off two sides of his persona while creating a mix of them in a brand new terrifying, yet lovable new version.  Let’s see how long he can keep this going through the rest of the season, or if the darkest version of himself will come back to haunt Rick and the others at the prison.

A great beginning showing exactly what happened to The Governor and those in his car after the killing members of Woodbury.  The Governor was in shock and couldn't or wouldn't even defend himself from walkers as they camped for the evening.  After waking up in the morning he was by himself and a never ending journey wandering past walkers started.  With a voice over by The Governor himself, we saw Woodbury burn and a beard grow.  He was of course talking to Tara and Lily, people who would become new family to him by the end of the episode.  He told them his name was Brian, clearly for the fans of the graphic novel “Rise of the Governor,” and would only tell them that where he came from, the leader lost his mind, with “Brian” barely getting out.

We eventually see how he hooked up with Tara and Lily and it was a great moment.  The Governor had fallen on the ground, and he needed a glimmer of hope to even stand back up, and at that perfect moment he saw Meghan, looking very much like his dead daughter Penny, in a window inside a building.  Starting off Tara and Lily do no trust him right off the bat, having him sleep in another room and trying to gather what information about him that they can.  After they talk to him, they wanted help with moving their ailing grandfather, David, so The Governor helps them and at the request of David he gets a game of backgammon to play with Meghan from a person upstairs from them.  When he gets upstairs he finds the game without a problem, but he finds the man it belongs to in a tub and mercifully kills him.  He looks very uncomfortable doing it, which is very unlike him.

This is a man who is broken.  He is not the ruthless man who we knew from last season.  Most of this season has been how far can the characters, which we have come to know, go and still be the same people.  It seems as though The Governor has changed forever.  This was best exemplified in the next scene where he travels to a nursing home to get oxygen for David, at Lily’s request, and is so startled by all the walkers that he runs away from the home with only 2 canisters, where he had a whole cart at first.  He doesn't seem to want to deal with walkers anymore after his actions in Woodbury.

Another great screen occurred with him and Meghan.  As David is dying, he starts to warm up to the girl, seeing his own daughter in her, and the feeling of wanting to keep her safe brings out a nice side of The Governor.  The whole episode dealt with trying to get the audience to see this man in a different light.  I don’t know how I feel about it yet, because I still think, and hope, the horrific man is in there so another battle can take place, but I like that they are giving him more dimensions.

When David dies, The Governor takes it into his own hands to kill him.  He does it quite horrifically in front of the 3 women, but it had to be done.  After the killing is done, he buries David, with a little help from Lily, and then burns the picture of his own family.  He doesn't want to be reminded of the hurting anymore and realizes that that part of his life is over and will never come back.  The Governor wants to leave, but Lily doesn’t let him without herself, Tara, and Meghan.  As they drive towards an unknown destination they stop for the night.  Lily decides to get some and The Governor and her hook up as the other two sleep right next to them.  In the morning the truck doesn't start and they have to travel on foot.  A horde of walkers is nearby and they have to make a run for it.  Meghan freezes, still in shock from what he did to her grandfather, but eventually goes right into his arms, and they run.  The Governor trips into a pit that has walkers inside, like he used to keep.  He kills the walkers brutally and says he will keep her safe no matter what and then Martinez shows up on top of the pit.

We don’t know how this is going to work out.  We haven’t seen him in a long time and so much has changed.  The Governor know has this family that he is taking care of and is at least seemingly trying to redeem himself for all of the terrible actions he has committed.  I thought overall this was a great episode, even though we only had one main character in it.  David Morrissey easily carried the episode and I hope we get more of him every week from here on out until the season is over.  It will be interesting to see if he has to play second banana to Martinez, as the preview suggested, or if that will be short lived.  The Governor has had a great reintroduction, hopefully the writers can keep it going now.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


This movie was flat out entertaining from beginning to end. I really can't say that about a lot of movies that have come out in the last few years. Movies can be shot well, have good stories, and great characters but if they don't fit together correctly the movie is rubbish overall. In this movie everything works perfectly together. Stellar performances, unbelievable soundtrack, great cinematography, perfect editing and an amazing story allow this movie to be almost perfect in every way. I'm pretty amazed that the producers and director of this movie were able to secure such a talented cast for what could be considered an art house spy thriller. Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Olivia Williams, Tom Hollander, and Jason Flemyng round out the cast that does an amazing job in bringing the characters and story to life.

The movie at first seems to be a very generic spy movie. The plot starts with Eric Bana's character training Hanna in the wilderness. We see her in the harshest of conditions and how she is trained for every situation in order to give her a chance to survive in any situation. They are training to go after Eric's former handler who betrayed him and Hanna's mother. This is where the movie turns into a type of revenge movie, because Hanna goes after this woman with the full force of all of the skills that her father taught her. Throughout the movie we see how Hanna evolves through the different experiences that she has and the different people she meets. The family she encounters shows her what love and friendship are and the German man that is friends with Eric shows her music and trust. These are lesson that Eric did not show her because he was so focused on training her for combat and survival. This is a tale of spiritual growth and revenge. These are both showcased to perfection and deserves you as a viewer.

The character of Hanna is obviously the focal point of the entire movie and Saoirse Ronan's performance does not disappoint. The innocence of the character is put on display in many of the film's scenes, be it her first real interaction with a boy or her first interaction with a family. Almost everything she experiences in the movie is a first and at times you can see it physically overwhelms her. Things like this let the viewer know that she is not an unstoppable killing machine but a young woman experiencing the world from a somewhat distorted and mutated perspective. For most of her life she was trained and taught only how to kill and survive at all costs, and all the time we see her in the movie all she wants to do is experience the world with her own eyes. Ultimately this is what truly brings the film to life and gives the story its weight.

There is also a fairy tale like feel to the movie because you see Hanna go through all of these trial and tribulations, and all she wants to do is be a "real" girl. What I mean by that is that she just wants to be a normal teenager and have friends but all she know is combat and survival skills. Through the course of the movie she is shown by the people around her what a real life can be and she has to fight in order to obtain it. It is a sort of twisted fairy tale but that is how I interpreted the story and that may differ from your opinion but that is why it is my opinion. 

The soundtrack for this movie is also worth mentioning, because it is easily on of the best soundtrack I have ever heard. The Chemical Brothers truly did something special when they crafted the score for this movie. It definitely rivals Daft Punk's score from Tron Legacy in every way. Each track is expertly crafted for the scene it was written and composed for and each track adds a different mood to each scene. The opening and closing tracks are very soft electronic tracks while most of the middle tracks are very heavy and lend to the tension and overall tone of Hanna's mission and the story as a whole. One of the main henchmen in the movie even whistles one of the tracks every time he is on screen and it adds a certain "creepy" factor to the character.


One of the best movies that I have ever seen. 

Even though this movie is definitely not for everyone, if you happen to like revenge/spy movies I really feel like you owe it to yourself to watch this movie. It is truly one of the only movies that I feel executed everything that it set out to and that is truly a great accomplishment for everyone involved.

The Walking Dead- "Internment"

Walkers were prominently featured in this episode in their biggest spots of the season.  Our cast had a tall order this week to survive the attacks, but they made it out for the moment.  A big character return at the end also highlighted this week’s installment.

So we've seen that the overall arc this year has been how far you can go for survival without losing who you are.  Carol, in the eyes of Rick, went too far and was not allowed to come back with him to the prison. What I was surprised with was how easily Maggie accepted this.  Herschel on the other hand almost passed out from the news.  He was having a hard week to begin with, but we'll get back to that.  Rick brooded, as he always does, on the ride back to the prison and that it is pretty much what we come to expect from him.  The angry have I made the right decision face is Rick’s go to for anything.  I wish they would change this, but it seems they have come to like it.

Herschel this week was in rough shape.  He was trying to keep everyone alive in the contaminated area, while also trying to keep spirits up.  This is a tall order in the world that they live in.  Herschel refused to let Maggie in to help, even though he clearly needed it considering how sick Sasha and Glenn both are.  Neither of these two would have made it through the episode were it not for some amazing medical skills and walker fighting from Herschel.  This week’s MVP by far, saw Herschel finally break down and not only stab, but also shoot walkers to help everyone else.  By episode’s end, he was trying to read from the bible only to breakdown in tears.  I believe Herschel has lost faith completely that walkers can be turned back into humans, something he has been holding on since the beginning.  Herschel stepped up big time though and I’m happy to see that when needed, he can be a complete badass.

On the other side of the prison walls, Rick and Carl were having some father-son time reinforcing the outer fence.  It was nice to see them working together, but then all hell broke loose with the fence coming down and walkers coming right up to the prison walls.  Rick took Carl to get some high power gun and the two of them mowed down all the walkers as the Herschel was taking out the ones inside the prison.  These two scenes were very powerful in showing just how dangerous the walker threat has been this season.  It could easily have gone much worse for everyone, but they all lived to tell the tale to Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese, and Bob, who all came back at the tail end of the episode.

Maggie made a great save for her father and Glenn this week, while Lizzie also risked her life to save Glenn.  Good job on the writers to let this flu or whatever they are calling it take Glenn out.  This would have been such a lame way for a great character to go out.  Glenn has an epic arc throughout the comics, and I’m hoping he gets a chance to do at least some of the things on the show.  Next week looks to be fun with Daryl and Tyreese most likely at odds with Rick and each other once they find out about Carol, and then the return of a missed character should add some wonderful fun for our group.  Keep on rolling season 4, you’re doing alright.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


This is one of the few classic horror movies that I have not had the chance to see up until a few days ago. I have seen a few of Dario Argento's newer movies but have never gotten the chance to see any of his older works. Suspiria has been universally hailed as one of the greatest horror movies ever filmed, as well as one of the scariest. It is kind of hard to see if you don't own a physical copy of it, seeing as it is not available to stream on any of the major streaming websites such as Netflix or Amazon. This week I picked up a DVD copy of it and sat down and watched it as soon as it was delivered to me in the mail.

Suspiria is the tale of a young American ballerina, Suzy Bannion, who is going to a prestigious ballet academy in Germany. She arrives in the middle of a volatile storm and sees a young woman in a panic fleeing from the school. That night, the young woman that Suzie saw flee the school, is killed in her friend's apartment. Strange occurrences begin going on in the school and soon more deaths begin to occur. Suzy's friend, Sarah, has a theory about what is going on and tries to get Suzy to go along with her theories. Are all of these occurrences a coincidence, or is there another force at work?

This movie is a complete assault on the sense, and it is magnificent to witness. The bright colors, over the top deaths, and the score, combine to create one of the most unique horror movie of all time. I can see how people could be on either side of the love it or hate it scale. The story may not make sense to everyone and you have to realize that it is not the primary strength of the movie. The strength of the movie is the way that it involves all of your different senses, so it is more of a style over substance situation. I appreciated the story because it didn't treat any of the characters as dumb, as so many horror movies do. Most of the characters in the movie are students concerned with their dance careers, so they really don't concern themselves with the strange things that happen.Another thing that I loved was that the main character learns along the way and thankfully never does anything overtly dumb.

The kill scenes are brutal and very limited in number, when a death is happening on screen there is no doubt about what is going on. The first death is one of the most memorable scene from any horror movie and shows how crazy Dario Argento was willing to go with the deaths in this movie. Argento does use kills like other directors today do, for quantity to appease the masses. He shows every kill as an up close and personal act and it makes the deaths more brutal and you actually feel slightly uncomfortable witnessing the killings. One death involves a room full of barb wire and a throat slitting, and it was one of the most graphic deaths I have ever seen in a movie.

Goblin isn't really the first word that comes to mind when thinking about awesome music, but the band Goblin kills it with the score that they created for this movie. The score is creepy, atmospheric, and infinitely re-playable. The use of the score throughout the movie adds dread and even foreshadows major events in the plot. If your score can enhance the dread and add to the viewer's immersion into the movie, it is a resounding success. Even if you are not interested in seeing this movie, you should at least check out the score to the movie. It easily ranks with the best movie scores of all time. Goblin also created the score for the movie, Zombie, and has influenced the scores of dozens of movies. The latest movie that its influence was seen in was The Lords of Salem, which borrows heavily from it.


Suspiria is a fantastic horror movie that prides itself on assaulting all of your senses. Dario Argento is a master of the horror genre, who created one of the most revered movies that the genre has to offer. If you are a horror fan, you need to see this movie. There is no other way to put it, this is simply a classic. If you want to see this movie, you are probably going to have to buy it or torrent it. Just keep in mind that this movie is worth it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Walking Dead- "Indifference"

A shorter review this week as your weekly walker lover has much on his plate.  This episode saw 2 groups away from the prison, and each other, figuring out ways to stock up on much needed supplies for everyone in the prison.

On one side you had Tyreese, Daryl, Michonne, and Bob making their way to their destination looking for medical supplies from last week’s episode.  First the group finds a new car, while Tyreese is still acting crazy from last week’s brush with walkers.  He seems to have lost his will to live and go on as everything in his life is crumbling around him.  As the episode goes on though, he seems to come to his senses and is now using his anger on all the walkers, with some beautiful hammer strikes to head I may add.  Bob also openly tells Daryl about his alcohol problem and that it was his fault Zach died earlier this year because he just wanted some alcohol.  Bob though does it again and gets some booze which almost causes the Daryl to almost send Bob into a pile of walkers.  Bob is officially on thin ice, and I won’t be surprised if he is the next to go.  Michonne also admits that she doesn’t know why she keeps going out for The Governor and by the end of the episode she says she won't go out anymore.

The other story saw Rick make angry faces all episode at Carol, while Carol continuously says that she did it for the good of the group.  I think Carol’s heart was in the right place, but she most likely could have waited until they were dead to burn them.  She didn't have to do the actual killing.  Rick in his heart knows that Carol wanted to do the right thing for everyone, but he also has to protect Carol from Tyreese, because it is a guarantee that he would tear her to shreds if he were to find out.  The closing of this episode was very sad as I think this may be the last we see of Carol, hopefully only for a little while.  Rick has to stick to his guns about the right path and everything else he preaches to the group, but I think they could have kept this a secret.  Carol has been great this season so far and it was nice to see a woman kicking major ass on the show.  I do hope she comes back.  Cheers Carol, it’s been a blast.

One last thing, kudos again to the make-up and effects crew this week.  They have been doing damage this season with each week having at least one major battle between walkers and humans each episode.  I hope this continues this season.  I also hope The Governor comes back soon as well.  Now that Michonne has given up her hunt, hopefully he’ll come back now with a vengeance.